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And on the Seventh Day…

By jimmyhutton on December 8, 2021 in Other

Mass produced. Photo: Jesus Christ

An associate of mine has written his own version of the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a Christian prayer, with a few versions that ultimately portray the same message. For those not familiar with the piece, here are the first couple of lines…

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Although I am not particularly religious, the Lord’s Prayer has been ingrained, if not crystallised, into my memory since childhood, having recited it over and over again during my primary school years. The prayer made no sense to me back then – I had just learnt it by rote – and words such as ‘hallowed’, ‘thine’ and even ‘thy’ just ran off the tongue with no real understanding. I can still pull it off, word for word.
So, back to my associate’s alternative, which he kindly read to me…
My pledge to the universe through which I travel is:
To treat everything with respect and gratitude;
To acknowledge my life will one day be over;
To accept those things beyond my control;
To know that my needs will be met;
To be kind to myself and everyone in the knowledge that we all struggle;
To be aware of the pitfalls we constantly face;
And to take responsibility for everything I do;
As long as I shall live.

I was moved, fascinated even. He was reciting a version that meant something to him. His delivery, his voice, his emotion and, above all, its meaning were something truly powerful.
I can only assume that he too is not particularly religious, but clearly his version of the timeless prayer set a moral code that could be used as some sort of guide by which to live his life.
The main difference between his version of the prayer and the original is that he has created his own moral compass, a guide that he can apply when the need arises. Maybe over the years he has worked out what is important to him, a religion of his own that is applicable to his life. Maybe he has found his own purpose in life instead of hoping that someone else will provide some kind of meaning for him.
So what of religion? Is it a guide to live one’s life, perhaps? As Mark Manson ponders in his book Everything is f*cked, if you’re not sure you got it right then religion can provide something if you are searching to beat uncertainty. Furthermore, Manson explains, “…religions acknowledge this permanent state of unknowing and demand faith in the face of it.”
Is this a bad thing? Well, consider this: It’s perhaps not so well known that religious people are less prone to depression and suicide than non-religious people. I guess the difference is what he describes as ‘hope’. Interestingly, research has shown that people of faith, whether it be to God or some other omnipotent force, believe they are being watched over, thus rewarded or punished depending if the behaviour is moral or immoral. It is also known that people of faith behave more ‘prosocially’ towards others, and that reminders of God, at least in the Christian sense, increase resistance to temptation.
The idea of following a God of some kind goes way back, perhaps as far back as when our brains were first able to ask questions and develop reason. If the question of our existence was not easily answered you can see how seeking such answers from a higher power might seem like a good solution.
In recent times there has been a tipping point, at least in the West, away from traditional religions to atheism. It’s a tricky subject, but if religion of any kind allows one to follow a structure and routine in one’s life from a psychological standpoint it can only be a good thing, right?
My associate’s version of the Lords Prayer has plenty of meaning to him. Perhaps we could all write our own version incorporating what has meaning to us. That said, I am sitting here looking at my Christmas tree as I write this article, made in China of course, spending 95 per cent of its life in storage, and I can take from that my own meaning of what it represents to me. Merry Christmas!

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